Darren Till missed weight for his fight against Stephen Thompson in Liverpool. He subsequently (and controversially) won the fight, and is now the number two ranked welterweight in the world.
That is the record for fighters who have missed weight in the UFC this year. Many high-profile fighters have missed the mark this year, most notably, Darren Till, Mackenzie Dern and Yoel Romero. Of course, Till is the most recent. The English fighter missed weight by 3.5 pounds in his main event bout against Stephen Thompson at UFC Liverpool. He lost 30% of his purse (to his opponent), and Thompson took the fight anyways. Till ended up winning via a controversial decision. Unbelievably, he was boosted up the rankings ladder to be the second ranked welterweight in the world, possibly one fight away from a title shot. So, outside of monetary loss, what was the punishment for Till not making the weight?
— UFC (@ufc) May 28, 2018
There was none, and there’s never any. In fact you can argue that Till actually gained an advantage by not making the weight, whereas Thompson actually drained himself down to the contracted weight. Till did not. Nor is this the first time this has happened this year, where a fighter has missed weight, won their fight and was then rewarded for it.
At UFC 212, Mackenzie Dern missed weight by a staggering 7 pounds for her fight against Amanda Cooper. Cooper took the fight, got rocked and then submitted by Dern. Despite the public backlash and some of her purse being taken, Dern lost nothing. In fact, she gained a spot in the rankings at strawweight the following week at number 15. Dern didn’t make weight, and Cooper had drained herself down to make the limit. Yet it was Dern who was rewarded, ultimately.
Probably the worst example to date is Yoel Romero at UFC 221. While Romero stepped in on relatively short notice, he was scheduled to fight the following week against David Branch. Romero stepped in against Luke Rockhold and missed weight by 2.7 pounds. He then won the fight via knockout in the third round and was then rewarded a title shot against Robert Whittaker at UFC 225.
Another notable example would be Josh Emmett missing weight against Ricardo Lamas, winning and then being labeled as a top five featherweight. So, what’s the solution?
That’s the hard part. Fighters are already losing a percentage of their purse. You can only fine a fighter so much before it’s not worth fighting at all. But there is a simple solution: Don’t reward people for missing weight. Not just monetarily. Make them ineligible to move up the rankings if they haven’t come in at the limit on the scales. Darren Till shouldn’t have shot up the rankings after missing weight, and Yoel Romero shouldn’t have gotten a title shot. In the UFC recently it has paid to not make your contracted weight where your opponent has, and it shouldn’t be that way.